FreeBalance Accountability Suite | Government Resource Planning

By: Freebalance  09-12-2011
Keywords: Financial Management, Public Finance, Civil Servants

In 1994, FreeBalance launched the FreeBalance Accountability Suite, a government Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). The FreeBalance Accountability Suite quickly became the most widely deployed financial application inside the Government of Canada. Since then, the FreeBalance Accountability Suite has evolved into a robust, dependable, extensible Government Resource Planning (GRP) system.

Today, the FreeBalance GRP system is implemented globally within governments across the world. Customers include the governments of Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Guyana, Iraq, Jamaica, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Pakistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Timor-Leste, Uganda, and the USA.

FreeBalance software is used by more than 60,000 public finance managers to manage hundreds of billions of dollars of government expenditures and more than 1.5 million civil servants across 18 time zones.

The FreeBalance Accountability Suite is recognized as the best solution for governments that need to initiate reform with a simple solution that has the flexibility to become more complex over time and reflect the government progress in implementing Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms or a changing political context.

FreeBalance provides government-optimized, compact, and easily sustainable software that was designed for government and can easily be adapted to any country context or level of government.

  1. Proven Technology
    The most widely used financial software across the Government of Canada. Robust technology with more than 15 years of successful implementations, even under the most difficult conditions in post-conflict countries.
  2. Programmed for Government
    No customization required. Quick configuration to specific country context. FreeBalance software is optimized for public finance, with fiscal controls and government financial management rules built into the main code of the software.
  3. Progressive Activation
    Key for government self-reliance, post-implementation software sustainability, and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). FreeBalance solutions can be scaled down to basic capability for fast initial implementation and then gradually scaled up. Features and functionality are activated by selecting configuration options and adding budget controls over time.

Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) solution

As a standard configuration (out-of-the-box), the FreeBalance Accountability Suite supports a wide range of budgetary controls in compliance with international public finance rules and codes of good fiscal practice: 

  • Aggregate Fiscal Controls
    The initial approved budgetary funds are mapped to the Chart of Accounts (COA) at a pre-determined COA hierarchy level for aggregate fiscal control
  • Multiple Levels of Allotment Controls  
    Support for approved appropriations, warrants, cash controls, supplemental budgets and allocations, mapped to summary or detailed levels within the COA and to fiscal periods
  • Multiple Commitment Levels
    Pre-encumbrance, commitment and obligation controls
  • Multi-Funds and Project Controls
    Projects and Programs are linked with fund sources, including linking specific budgets, projects or programs to specific revenue sources or donors

The FreeBalance Accountability Suite adapts to meet many unique country
needs including:

  • Chart-of-Accounts design supporting consolidation, reporting objects, international standards, valid code combinations and accounting offsets
  • Multiple currencies, adjustment of fiscal periods, multi-year commitments, year-end and period-end procedures
  • Multiple accounting methods (cash, modified cash, modified accrual and full accrual
  • Workflow , business rules, forms and report configuration
  • Custom domains to support unique government information integrated with workflow, rules, forms and reports

The FreeBalance Accountability Suite - GRP System

The FreeBalance GRP system assists governments in achieving aggregate fiscal control and better management of public funds. Unlike private sector finance, public finance is budget driven, not profit driven. FreeBalance is focused 100% on government. The underlying product architecture of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite is designed for managing public finance. Commitment accounting requires numerous control mechanisms between the initial budget approval and the completion of government fiscal transactions. 

Governments worldwide select required functionality that reflects the unique country circumstances and can activate additional features and functionality as the political process evolves. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite is designed for managing government fiscal processes from the ground up. The FreeBalance GRP is implemented by activating functionality options through software configuration rather than bespoke programming and software source code customization.

The support of local languages and terminology enables capacity building and government self-sustainability. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite is a multi-language GRP that adapts to meet unique language requirements:

  • Language support facilitated through uploading translation files
  • Multiple character set support includes Unicode
  • Terminology adjustment after uploading translation

GRP systems need to integrate with a wide variety of automated sub-systems. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite leverages a component-based Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to facilitate integration:  

  • Government Systems integration supports of bank, revenue and expenditure systems including multiple government tiers
  • Systems Management integration includes integration tools and support for identity management
  • Office Integration support typical office software and e-mail

Supported International Standards

The FreeBalance Accountability Suite supports good fiscal practice and internationally recognized standards such as:

  • United Nations Common Functions of Government (COFOG)
    Functional classification to report government statistics to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations
  • The IMF Government Finance Statistics (GFS)
    Provides a comprehensive conceptual and accounting framework suitable for analyzing and evaluating fiscal policy and performance of the general government sector and broader public sector of any country
  • The IMF Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency
    Method to assess government fiscal transparency with practical advice
    for improvement
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
    A collection of rules, procedures and conventions that define accepted accounting practices. This includes broad guidelines and detailed procedures applied to both the public and private sectors
  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
    International Accounting Standards Board, International private and public sector reporting standards
  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
    Cash and accrual reporting requirements for government and public sector organizations. Compliance with the IPSAS standards guarantees that the financial reporting of public bodies conveys what is termed a true and fair view of the financial situation. IPSAS take account of the characteristic features of the
    public sector.
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
    Governance outcome measurements supported in performance objectives
  • Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF)
    Multiple year rational planning and budget formulation processes enabling the government to establish credible and transparent criteria for allocating public resources to strategic priorities while ensuring overall fiscal discipline
  • The World Bank Treasury Reference Model
    A development tool for fiscal managers and system developers, intended to help implement good practices in fiscal accounting and expenditure control

Configuration options enable rapid implementations and adjustments to support government legal reform. This approach includes:

  • Built in support for International Public Sector Accounting Standards
  • Configuration of functions through parameterization including supporting unique needs that require customization in traditional software
  • Progressive Activation to support PFM reform and modernization
Progressive activation supports the sequential activation of additional functionality though allowing ongoing changes to support evolving political processes and capacity building including:
  • Multiple year Chart of Accounts to support changes to government structures, reporting requirements and performance considerations
  • Upgrading accounting methods to full accrual accounting
  • Adapting budgetary controls to support de-centralization, performance objectives, fiscal discipline and improved decision-making
  • Adding additional modules to support the best-practice of phased PFM reform
  • Configuration and progressive activation makes the FreeBalance Accountability Suite sustainable by governments. The FreeBalance GRP does not require the significant software code customization needed for generic software to operate in government. And, the FreeBalance Accountability Suite does not require customization to support on-going PFM reform.

FreeBalance GRP Module Categories

The FreeBalance Accountability Suite supports all aspects of the budget cycle and provides fiscal control over fund allocations, expenditures, appropriations, revenue administration, and human capital management.

The FreeBalance GRP System categories include:

    FreeBalance Accountability Platform

    The FreeBalance Accountability Platform has been designed for deployment options encountered in multi-tiered governments.

Keywords: Civil Servants, Finance Managers, Financial Management, Fiscal Controls, Government Financial Management, Government Resource, Government Resource Planning, Integrated Financial Management, Public Finance,

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